G9450, Revised December 2014
The timber rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in Missouri and is found throughout the state (Figure 3). This snake grows to 3 to 4 feet in length, but some occasionally grow to 5 feet. It prefers to live in forested areas with many rock outcroppings, rocky slopes and boulders. In the northern half of Missouri, it tends to congregate in select south-facing rocky areas, where it spends the winter. This habitat is not widespread in southern Missouri. The timber rattlesnake is shy, and when it encounters humans, often remains motionless to avoid detection. Its food consists primarily of rodents and small rabbits. Females produce five to 15 young every other year during late summer or early fall. The bite of the timber rattlesnake is dangerous and can be fatal to humans.
Figure 3Timber rattlesnake photo by Tom R. Johnson, herpetologist, Missouri Department of Conservation.
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